All good things must come to an end, or -- in the case of most Marvel comics these days -- pause for a month or two before being re-launched with a new title and direction. Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente’s “Incredible Hercules” saga reaches its conclusion in this volume, and it’s a worthy end. With the Chaos King and his pantheon of defeated gods on the march, reality itself doesn’t stand much of a chance. Fortunately Hercules has been reborn as the Skyfather (all the power of his dad Zeus and then some), has his buddy Amadeus Cho and nearly all of the “godly” Marvel heroes to back him up. Will they triumph in the face of overwhelming evil and save the billions of inhabitants of the Marvel Universe?
Non-spoiler warning: they do. Fortunately for all of the predictable inevitability of this story’s destination, the writers do a good job of making the journey pretty entertaining. Aside from the series’ trademark sense of humor (see: pretty much anything that comes out of Amadeus’ mouth), this volume does everything a good final arc should. The stakes are raised, the drama is heightened, surprising but well-planned revelations are made, and the heroes triumph in a clever manner that builds upon what has come before. Really, this last volume does such a great job of bringing things from all of the previous arcs together that I’d be surprised to find out if anyone who has been reading from the beginning was disappointed by what’s on show here.
Khoi Pham even comes back to illustrate this arc after his initial “Against the World” run on this title and the man has come a long way since those days. While his work there had real energy to it, the look of those issues was pretty bland, and not very distinct compared to other books at the time. That’s not the case anymore. The difference is obvious from the very first page where he gives us a much looser, sketchier style that (combined with Sunny Gho’s colors) gives the book the distinct, epic feel that it deserves.
If I have any reservations, it’s how we’re getting another Hercules series, “Herc” from Pak and Van Lente, right after this one. After such a successful run, I’m kind of curious as to why they’d want to dive back into another ongoing series with the character. What more could they have to say about him that they didn’t here? But this is just me speculating on another book that has just come out. This one, and the series it’s a part of, is great and definitely worth your time and money.